Start Reigning encourages spirit of volunteerism

abredeson@islandpacket.comApril 21, 2012 

Ka'Dejrah Heyward, left, and Sariah Robertson paint the future home of the Start Reigning direct action center on April 17. They are participating in the group’s flagship program, "I Shall Wear a Crown." The nationwide program teaches the elements of pageantry and how to apply them to life. The first requirement of the girls is to serve.

JAY KARR/THE ISLAND PACKET

  • Start Reigning is hosting a beach bash and breakfast from 7 to 10 a.m. April 21 at Driessen Beach Park. Guests will have the opportunity to work out with NFL players on the beach. The event is free, but breakfast will cost $5. After that, the public is invited to have lunch with professional athletes, civil rights icons and industry leaders from noon to 2 p.m. at Wild Wing Cafe on Hilton Head. Cost is $20.

    Details: 843-683-1157

How do you eat an elephant? As the old expression goes, you eat it one bite at a time. Well, Hilton Head Island resident Renee Robertson doesn't believe that for a minute.

The former beauty queen says she is keeping her pageant promise to make the world a better place through her social change organization Start Reigning. And the group is working to tackle just about everything you can imagine -- from poverty and inequality to chronic disease and global warming.

"All of us at one point have said we wanted to end world hunger, save the world," Robertson said.

Robertson said the grass-roots organization, which does not yet have nonprofit status, was founded in 2002 and is based on the verse from Matthew 25:21 in the Bible: "Well done, my good and faithful servant."

"This organization removes all titles and superficial status," Robertson said. "It places us all as humble servants."

In honor of National Volunteer Week, Robertson said her group has organized about 40 events nationwide to encourage people to get out and volunteer. On Hilton Head, the group is in the midst of "Let It Reign 2012: Film, Music & Fashion," which will include events through April 22.

The purpose of the week is to promote volunteerism, education, economic development and human rights through film, music and fashion.

"The whole idea is to show community leaders and notables encouraging people to volunteer," Robertson said. "We're just trying to bring awareness to volunteerism."

"I want people to understand it doesn't take a lot to make a difference," Robertson added. "I saw the need, and it's what I know I was born to do. It doesn't seem like work for me at all."

Want to help?

To volunteer your time with the grass-roots organization Start Reigning, call 843-683-1157 or go to www.startreigning.org.

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